The Order of Armeros, the God of War, is one of the most reknown orders in Santharia with many members and facilities, commonly attached to one of the temples of Armeros. They act as free peacekeepers wandering the lands in their quest for glory, fame and a bit of treasure putting down all evil they face on the many roads through the kingdom. They follow strict codices laid out by the priesthood of the God of War and are well-respected at least in the lower grades of Santharian society.
Picture description. Armeros, God of War and Balance with the Truth-Splitter, the Sword of Justice. Image drawn by Quellion.
The insignia of the Knights of
Armeros is the twoheaded viper and a cloak of copper color both symbols of the
God of War.
Knights with an own coat of arms often wear the viper in one corner of their
shield while knights who are only part of the Order paint their shields in brown
as well, often with the viper embraced in golden flares or flames on their
To make the cloak more distinguishable the viper is often sewn into the cloth as well. The other undoubtful mark is a golden ring shaped like two snakes. The name of its bearer is carved into the bodies of the snakes and the Armerosí temple from which he came. This is as much to make this item unique as to use it as an identification mark should one knight die in combat.
Coat of Arms/Sign. The coat of arms of the Order of Armeros is the twoheaded viper shaped like an open eight on brown ground.
Territory. The order is active nearly in whole Santharia, though because of disputes with the Order of the Fallen they avoid the northern territories. The biggest Order houses lie in New-Santhala, Voldar and Elsreth. These are also the places where the three Grandmasters of the Order reside, the one of New-Santhala even often as one of the king's advisers.
Organization. The order of Armeros is closely aligned to the temples of this God and thus the most notable houses of the Order are close to the main temples and shrines of Armeros, often within the same complex.
Each bigger temple has an elder member of the order as a contact person to the knights wandering the lands, collecting news about trouble, about the location of friends and allies and other events in the neighbourhood. They ensure security and peace in the immediate neighbourhood of the temple and care for the knights that might seek shelter in the temple. They also serve as the temple guard.
The main temples of Armeros also house the training grounds for the order. These facilities are lead by a Grandmaster who has to manage the responsibilities of a whole region giving orders and quests to the knights returning to the temples.
Nevertheless, the knights are more the acting part of the temple of Armeros, they still remain responsible to the temples and the priesthood which decides in the last instances about important decisions. The Grandmaster are in this respect the only organizers of the Order.
As any Knight of Armeros has sworn to fight evil wherever he encounters it so most members of the Order are always travelling the lands and only the few veterans and elder remain at the temples.
Usually you can attain membership in the Order at the main temples. The elder members select the best suited every year among hundreds of interested young people, only few dozens per temple. The choice goes after capabilities not after heritage so even poor street boys are approved when they show the necessary talent. The chosen ones then live for three years in the barracks of the temple to learn the basics of combat and many other useful things they will need in a knight's life. After the three years they're appointed to an elder member of the Order as apprentice and then wander six years through the lands to learn the path of a Knight of Armeros. After these six years and after the approval of the elder members one may become a fullworthy knight by praying one night in the temple for Armeros' favour to guide one's decisions.
Origin. The origin of the order dates back to ancient times when the various landlords of the humans demanded loyality from their warriors in exchange for land. This so-called "Oath to Armeros" was known in many variations throughout the lands and was the origin of the social class of knights, professional soldiers, meant to be the elite guard of their landlords as well as ensurers of his laws and orders. During the Sarvonian Wars much of the later responsibilities were forgotten. The knights, the most important unit in every battle, had to abandon their lands to wage war so highwaymen, monsters and other vermin infested the lands and far too often those who came home became robber knights themselves out of necessity because their lands were destroyed or out of pure bloodlust.
The priests of Armeros saw the rightful cause of their God in danger by these ongoings and looked for a new way to bring justice and security back to the roads and lands. So the Order of Armeros was formed. At first only a title to knights who proved their loyal intentions to the cause was given. It was a call to every rightful knight to leave their homes and seek out the evil that roamed the lands.
Many of the young, poor and adventurous knights followed this call and became wandering knights, most of them barely owning enough money to maintain a sufficient equipment. By those knights who remained the loyal servants of their landlords these knights were often seen as fools, homeless and worse, not of noble heritage at all and thus not as worthy as a knight with land and title.
The temples of Armeros began to expand their responsibilities to also host and train these knights, seeing the chosen path of the wandering Knights as a holy mission. When the Sarvonian Wars ended and with the rise of Tharania the Knights of Armeros started to become respected soldiers for a rightful goal and also an exciting opportunity for those seeking adventure and fortune. Even knights with land and title put on the "Coat of the Viper" as a redemption for their sins or to fulfil an oath.
Information provided by Koldar Mondrakken